Strengthening accountability and showcasing effective climate leadership

Race to Zero

Race to Zero to collaborate with UN Climate Change on strengthening accountability and showcasing effective climate leadership 

Race to Zero to support UN Climate Change Recognition and Accountability Framework, avoid process duplication, and continue work with partners to drive effective voluntary action across the economy. 

Since Race to Zero was launched by the UN Climate Change High-Level Champions in 2020, its Partner Initiatives have led the way in galvanising voluntary non-state actor climate leadership, mobilising more than 11,000 members across business, finance, cities, regions, education and healthcare institutions to make high-quality, public commitments to halve emissions by 2030 and reach net-zero by 2050 at the latest.

Together, Race to Zero, its Partners, and their members have helped strengthen norms and best practice around net zero leadership, while emphasising implementation and accelerating action — all of which is already driving emissions reductions in the real economy. Over 250 of the 500+ financial institutions in Race to Zero had released interim targets by COP27, and a 2022 analysis of the 500 largest corporate members of its Partner Initiatives showed that nearly two-thirds reported having public implementation plans in place.

Building on the work done by Race to Zero’s Partner Initiatives and Expert Peer Review Group, the UNFCCC Secretariat is now developing a Recognition and Accountability Framework, as requested by the UN Secretary-General at COP27 and in light of the invitation made to it by Parties at COP27 to enhance the accountability of voluntary initiatives.

The Framework will establish a new process to: monitor and analyse voluntary net zero alliances and initiatives, increase recognition of non-state actors that are delivering on credible commitments, enhance transparency and accountability of Non-state actors, and help maximise the extent of credible pledges, plans and progress. The process aims to inform the outcomes of the Global Stocktake in 2023 and the update of countries’ Nationally-Determined Contributions (NDCs) in 2025.

Development of the UNFCCC Secretariat-led framework will be informed by an inclusive stakeholder engagement process. Initial results will be announced at or before COP 28 and will be updated on an annual basis thereafter to provide public assurance on progress made.

To avoid duplication for Race to Zero partners, the Race to Zero campaign will not conduct a separate review of its Partner Initiatives this year, which was due to commence on 15 June. Race to Zero Partners reconfirmed through the recently-completed 2022 assessment process remain in the Race to Zero.

Race to Zero will support Partner Initiatives to continue strengthening their own norms, processes and criteria, based on lessons learned from implementation, informed by the recommendations of the Integrity Matters report, and in line with their own governance, as requested by the UN Secretary General to all net zero initiatives.

Other areas of focus for Race to Zero will include continuing to mobilise best-in-class non-state actor leaders in all corners of the world, identifying and addressing barriers to action, and supporting the policies needed to transition the whole economy to net zero.

“The Race to Zero is proof of the power of businesses, financial institutions, cities and regions to accelerate action on climate,” said Dr. Mahmoud Mohieldin and Her Excellency Ms. Razan Al Mubarak, the UN Climate Change High-Level Champions for COP27 and COP28.

“We are proud that the work of Race to Zero has, in its first three years, helped to jump start implementation of climate action among a wide variety of non-state actors, while strengthening best practice and alignment on what high quality net zero leadership must look like. As the UNFCCC takes on a leading role in recognition and accountability, we, the Race to Zero and its partners will support those efforts and continue to drive and amplify world-leading action across the real economy. We recognize the need to address the challenges facing non-state actors from developing countries in formulating and implementing net-zero targets and will work towards identifying the measures needed to support them to formulate and deliver on credible net-zero targets.”

“Race to Zero and its partner initiatives have galvanised non-state actors to take bold climate action,” said Simon Stiell, Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change. “In response to the urgent mandate from the UN Secretary-General to increase accountability, UN Climate Change is now developing a comprehensive recognition and accountability framework. This landmark framework will amplify the credibility and impact of voluntary non-state initiatives, driving real change in this critical decade.”

31 May 2023